Toure on The Dylan Ratigan Show on Friday, Sept 9, 2011
Cognitive dissonance is a dangerously rampant phenomenon among the right wing. It's astounding how they can simultaneously hold that they are the epitome of patriotic Christians, and yet not want to examine that they have spent the better part of ten years cheerleading the senseless deaths of thousands of lives that posed no threat to us and the miserly constraining of union rights and health benefits to the first responders.
It's human nature to not want to feel like a bad person. I get it. But it's also a sign of a maturity and self-awareness to acknowledge that we do make mistakes...big ones. And to acknowledge that is the first step towards not repeating it. There's not a whole hell of a lot about the tenth anniversary of 9/11 that feels good to honor. I still grieve the deaths on that day (someone I was very close to died on Flight 93), but the legacy of what this nation has done using 9/11 as the justification brings me up short.
And I'm not alone. Cliff Schecter has pointed it out in a post below that was cross-posted on Al Jazeera. Dan Abrams notes his own reluctance as the then-General Manager of MSNBC to re-broadcast the 9/11 footage on the fifth anniversary (which the channel is doing again today). David Gergen also bemoaned the role of the media. And Paul Krugman also published an op-ed acknowledging the wisdom of being circumspect:
What happened after 9/11 — and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not — was deeply shameful. Te atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neocons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons.
A lot of other people behaved badly. How many of our professional pundits — people who should have understood very well what was happening — took the easy way out, turning a blind eye to the corruption and lending their support to the hijacking of the atrocity?
The memory of 9/11 has been irrevocably poisoned; it has become an occasion for shame. And in its heart, the nation knows it.
Ouch. Questions about the appropriateness of the timing aside (and personally, I think we can be adult enough to deal with it) that hurts on a deep psyche level. And let me tell you, right wingers are just not having it. (links go to wingnut sites, give them clicks at your own peril)
But is Krugman wrong? Yes, almost 3,000 people died that day, needlessly, horribly. But that day was the impetus for us to attack and invade Iraq, a country that had nothing to do with the attacks and posed no threat to us. To date, we've lost 4,752 allied service members in Iraq and over 100,000 Iraqi civilians. How is this not a black mark of shame on the legacy of 9/11? How can we praise the first responders' bravery on one hand and then deny them assistance for the mesothelioma they contracted despite Bush administration assurances that the air was safe to breathe? How can we deny that Osama's goal to bankrupt and terrorize the country from within certainly looks like it happened as we hemorrhage trillions of dollars in multiple quagmires in the Middle East and grandmothers and six year olds are invasively groped as they attempt to travel by plane.
But the right wingers don't want to acknowledge that. Better to shoot the messenger and tell all their followers how much liberals hate America.